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Sri Lanka suspends visa-on-arrival

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry on Thursday said that it had kept its new visa-on-arrival programme ‘on hold’ due to the security situation in the country.
The visa-on-arrival regime was expected to be implemented from May 1 for tourists from more than 30 countries.

However, following the string of explosions on Easter Sunday which left 359 people dead and hundreds injured, the government decided to suspend the programme until further notice.

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said, “Investigations have revealed foreign links to the attacks and we do not want this facility to be abused”.  

Tourism was one of the worst hit industries following the deadly blasts in churches and star class hotels in or around Colombo on Sunday.

Police have arrested another 16 people in connection to the series of explosions on Easter weekend which claimed at least 359 lives, officials said on Thursday.

This brings the total number of suspects in detention to 76 and vehicles used by the suspects have also been seized in the operations.

On Wednesday, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena directed two top officials to step down amid allegations they failed to share intelligence reports with him about possible suicide attacks which were available to officials earlier in March.

President Sirisena claimed that Defence Secretary, Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector-General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara also failed to inform Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cabinet.

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